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Public might get look at Ronaldo police report: US judge

LAS VEGAS (AP) – A federal court in Las Vegas has signalled that the public might get a look at a Las Vegas police report compiled about Cristiano Ronaldo after a Nevada woman claimed in 2018 that the international football star assaulted her in 2009.

United States (US) Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts said in documents filed last Friday that denying the New York Times access to what police collected “would almost certainly raise the ‘spectre of government censorship'”.

Albregts recommended that US District Judge Jennifer Dorsey transfer to a state court the newspaper’s open-records request for documents so far kept secret under a hush-money agreement the woman, Kathryn Mayorga, signed more than a decade ago.

Albregts said a protective order that Dorsey imposed to prevent the release of the 2010 agreement doesn’t apply to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and “does not bar LVMPD from disseminating its criminal investigative file”.

Mayorga sued Ronaldo in 2018, saying through her attorneys that she was coerced into the settlement, never wanted to be identified publicly and should receive millions of dollars more than the USD375,000 she received from Ronaldo’s representatives.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Mayorga gave consent through her attorneys, Leslie Mark Stovall and Larissa Drohobyczer, to make her name public.

Albregts said the public records dispute should go to state court.

He noted the police department was not a party to the Mayorga-Ronaldo hush-money deal and that “all parties came to agree” that state court, not federal court, is the proper venue to decide whether state law obligates police to release what investigators found. “While the information in LVMPD’s file may be identical to that which is covered in the protective order… LVMPD did not obtain the information because of this lawsuit,” Albregts wrote.

“To find that the protective order restricts (police) dissemination of the information it gained from other sources would offend the First Amendment.”

Dorsey ruled last year that due to the 2010 agreement, the dispute between Mayorga and Ronaldo belonged in private arbitration.

The judge has not yet ruled whether Mayorga lacked the mental capacity at the time to sign the secrecy agreement and accept the settlement from Ronaldo’s representatives.

If Mayorga was fit to enter the pact, the judge has said, she is bound by confidentiality and an arbitrator should decide behind closed doors whether the contract was valid.